5 Tips for Latin Mass (from a non-regular)

A few weeks ago, I changed up my Sunday routine by going to Latin Mass at a parish in town. I’ve been a few times before and, after some awkwardness, I’ve learned a few things about how to enter into this liturgy without getting completely lost.


Latin Mass Tips

This is my unofficial list of tips I’ve learned and had to figure out along the way about how to survive a Latin Mass when you’ve never been before.

1. Embrace the Different

If you go into a Latin Mass expecting everything to be the same as a novus ordo you’ll miss a lot and probably wind up standing when you should be kneeling…(oops!) There will be incense, and lots of singing, and women in veils. And it will also be full of beautiful ritual. Embrace the fact that this Mass will be pretty different than your typical Sunday experience. And that’s okay.

2. Sit Towards the Back

Trust me when I say that this will make the whole newness a bit less overwhelming. First, you can watch everyone else to be cued when to stand and kneel. If you’re an awkward person (like me) you may find you’re less self-conscious when no one’s looking at you. Which brings me to my next point…

3. Don’t Sweat it!

Don’t worry if you get lost or don’t stand right on time. From my experience, people at Latin Mass are actually pretty chill. Just try your best and most importantly pray. Don’t worry about following everything or being on the right page of the booklet or any of that. Just enjoy the fact that you’re at Mass.

4. Know These two Common Responses

While you don’t need to try and learn the whole Mass before you go, a few responses can help you out with being able to participate at Mass.

First, the one every Catholic knows in English and makes Star Wars jokes about…

Priest: “Dominus vobiscum” (the Lord be with you)
People: “et cum spiritu tuo” (and with your spirit)

When the priest is saying a long prayer you may find yourself lost or if you’re reading along in a booklet you may finish reading before he finishes talking. Just wait until you hear this:

Priest:”…saecula saeculorum” (roughly meaning forever and ever)
People: “Amen”

5. Go back!

The first time I went to Latin Mass I walked out frustrated. I couldn’t keep track of the pages and it didn’t make sense. I knew it was beautiful, but I was upset I couldn’t appreciate that beauty because I was struggling just to stand and kneel at the right times.

Going back this week, I was much more comfortable and also less worried about following perfectly. It allowed me a chance to be a part of the Mass and enter into it. If you struggle the first time, don’t worry about it. Try again. It might not be your style but it’s hard to know that after just one experience.

Latin Mass can be daunting. But if you’re interested in going I recommend you try it. It can be a lot to take in, but focus on entering into the Mass and making it a prayer and I’m sure you’ll get something out of it.


NAS: If I’m Called to Religious Life…

So, I’m finally making the plunge and linking up with Jen and Morgan for the Not Alone Series for the first time. I’ve read some of the posts before and admired it from afar. But I’ve never really felt it was the link-up for me. But thing’s have changed lately. I think this post will help explain why.

My first time joining this link-up and this is the topic I get:

While most of us feel called to marriage, it is important to see the beauty in all vocations! If/when you were discerning religious life, which communities interest(ed) you? What do you see as the positives of that vocation?

This is actually a perfect topic. Because discerning religious life? Yeah, been there, done that. Kind of.

Okay…story time.

When I was in high school I was coming into my faith. I was realizing the beauty of it and starting my personal journey with God. I was enamored with the whole thing, with the joy and the community I had found. I was also a helpless romantic. As a sophomore in high school I remember saying to a priest that I was pretty sure I was called to be a sister. I wanted what they had and perhaps, in a way, I saw it as the logical next step on my journey.

Then came senior year. A year of decisions. I was still contemplating religious life and that fall I went on a discernment retreat. In adoration I believed I received a sign. I thought that I should look at religious orders dedicated to the Sacred Heart. Later, I recalled that I had already visited one such order. After that, I was pretty convinced that the sign had been true and this was God’s way of saying that this order was where I was supposed to be.

So a month later I visited them. I hated it. I didn’t feel welcomed I didn’t feel at home, I didn’t feel peace. I was confused and upset. But…this was where God wanted me. Or so I thought. And that was the most upsetting part.

I wrestled with it for months. Eventually, I decided I would do it. I would join the convent. Needless to say I hadn’t discerned properly. I’m not saying you can’t have reservations about your vocation or that you have to love every aspect of it. But from my understanding God’s will should bring you peace not the twist of emotions and dread that I felt.

Thankfully, God was at work. I told my mom that I would be joining the convent. The next day she put down a housing deposit at Benedictine College. She said she wanted to give me time to think about it. Well, it didn’t take long for God to tug at my heart. I came for early orientation at BC and loved it. I wanted this. And it’s where I’m meant to be.

So here I am, finishing up my sophomore year of college. I’ve done a lot of thinking and discerning this year about my vocation. I don’t know that I have it all figured out. I don’t think I’ll wind up in religious life but if I do, that will be okay with me. I’ll get to have prayer and daily Mass scheduled into my day for me. My life will be simpler and spent in service to others. And if I get married that will be okay too. Ditto with single life. Every vocation has its challenges and its joys. I’m still trying to figure out which joys will be mine. In the mean time I’m continuing to discern and I’m waiting. Waiting on God. And potentially waiting on my future husband. 😉

The positives of religious life, I think are things which initially attracted me to it and which I still see as beautiful and appealing: living in a community of  Catholic women, trying together to be holy, and giving yourself completely to God in a special way. Religious life is beautiful and I think it’s important to acknowledge that no matter what your vocation is. I will never be a priest but I still acknowledge the beauty of that vocation.

If God does call me to the life of a sister I’m fairly confident it will be to an order with some sort of apostolate such as teaching or possibly nursing. The School Sisters of Christ the King come to mind, as do the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George and the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia. I’ve had some type of contact with all 3 orders, the first two especially. They seem to be beautiful orders of happy young sisters living their callings (and having fun while they do so!). Honestly it wouldn’t be so bad.

But I’m still on a journey. And I’m glad to be sharing this journey with my friends and with all of you and to be finally joining the NAS link-up.


Why I Love St. John XXIII

Happy canonization day!


With all the hype around JPII’s canonization I couldn’t help but feel bad for John XXIII. I mean, he became a saint too and if it wasn’t on the same day as one of the most beloved popes in very recent memory well…he would probably get more attention.

I have seen a few things on John XXIII and I’ve been doing my own research too to incorporate facts and quotes about him in the Sunday bulletin I edit for campus ministry. And you know, the more quotes I read, the more stories I hear, the more I love him.

So, I’ve compiled some of my favorite quotes, stories, and pictures from around the web all about the brand-new St. John XXIII.

First, check out some short bios on the new saint. Though he was only pope for a few years, John XXIII had a major impact on the church. This man saved thousands of Jews during anti-semitism in the 1930’s and 40’s. He served as an army chaplain during World War I.

Oh, and he opened Vatican II….


See everything, overlook a great deal, correct a little.”

“Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.”

“If God created shadows it was to better emphasize the light.”

“It is easier for a father to have children than for children to have a real father.”

“It often happens that I wake up at night and begin to think about a serious problem and decide I must tell the Pope about it. Then I wake up completely and remember that I am the Pope.”

“The council now beginning rises in the Church like the daybreak, a forerunner of most splendid light.”

Memes and Pictures

Man of the Year 1962
Man of the Year


John XXIII Beard


My favorite….

One of the first things I came across was John XXIII’s decalogue or “Only for Today”.

     Only for today, I will seek to live the livelong day positively without wishing to solve the problems of my life all at once.

     Only for today, I will take the greatest care of my appearance: I will dress modestly; I will not raise my voice; I will be       courteous in my behavior; I will not criticize anyone; I will not claim to improve or to discipline anyone except myself.

     Only for today, I will be happy in the certainty that I was created to be happy, not only in the other world but also in this one.

     Only for today, I will adapt to circumstances, without requiring all circumstances to be adapted to my own wishes.

     Only for today, I will devote ten minutes of my time to some good reading, remembering that just as food is necessary to the life of the body, so good reading is necessary to the life of the soul.

     Only for today, I will do one good deed and not tell anyone about it.

     Only for today, I will do at least one thing I do not like doing; and if my feelings are hurt, I will make sure that no one notices.

     Only for today, I will make a plan for myself: I may not follow it to the letter, but I will make it. And I will be on guard against two evils: hastiness and indecision.

     Only for today, I will firmly believe, despite appearances, that the good providence of God cares for me as no one else who exists in this world.

    Only for today, I will have no fears. In particular, I will not be afraid to enjoy what is beautiful and to believe in goodness. Indeed, for twelve hours I can certainly do what might cause me consternation were I to believe I had to do it all my life.

For Your Further Enjoyment

John XXIII’s humor and wit

Lifteen article on “Good Pope John”

Also, a quick video on how awesome St. John XXII is

Yep, this is one of the saints whose canonization Mass I stayed up until 5am this morning watching. #worthit


#ThankYouFrancis –One Year as Our Pope

Tomorrow, March 13th marks one year since Cardinal Bergoglio became our Pope Francis. It’s amazing to think what he has done in just 365 days. Though he’s often misunderstood, like really often, he has helped the church to become more present in the secular world and led us through tough times, while always remaining faithful to the teachings of the church. He is humble, kind, and, as anyone who has studied catholic doctrine can tell you, orthodox.

Francis is our pope and while others have embraced him for “changing” doctrine we have embraced him for continuing to speak truth and reaffirming doctrine in his own, kind, humble way. Francis has reminded us of our duty to the poor, the hungry, and all social justice issues rather than just a few. He has shown us how to accept people and love them unconditionally as a Christian should without accepting their sin.

He has become a celebrity, even being named Time’s Person of the Year, yet has retained the humility of the cardinal who cooked for himself and the newly elected Pope who rode the bus with his brother cardinals.

To commemorate his first year as Pope a group of youth has launched a worldwide initiative to thank Pope Francis. Visit Grazie Francesco to see the messages from people around the globe grateful for our pope. Share your own message by posting on Facebook or Tweeting using the hashtag #ThankYouFrancis or visit their website to send a direct message. It’s such a cool idea and just goes to show how much of an impact Pope Francis, the Church, and Jesus Christ can have on us young people.

For the person you are, for your commitment to the truths of the faith, for your words of wisdom, for your humility #ThankYouFrancis

I Think I Want a Chapel Veil…

I’ve been something of a traditionalist for a while. I mean in high school I raised my hands and listened to praise and worship music as much as the next girl whose youth minister graduated from Franciscan. But my traditionalist ways have been a part of me for a long time. Still these ways generally only extend so far as the occasional Latin Mass (but only within the last few years). And they certainly don’t include chapel veils.

Well, not yet.

No offense to anyone who wears them, but frankly I don’t get chapel veils. Ok sure, there’s the passage in the Bible about women covering their heads before God and so forth…but, honestly these veils we wear today seem more like adornments than coverings: a pretty thing with rose-patterned lace to put on your head. I admit my perception is probably skewed and I’m sure I’ve been guilty of projecting my own jealousy. But even setting that aside…what’s the point exactly of the veil?

Since being home I’ve gone to two Latin Masses including the Midnight Mass at my home parish which was a high Latin Mass this year. Additionally I’m falling in love with the liturgy of the hours. I’ve just been caught up in a wave of devout sentiment. By extension, my interest in veiling has resurfaced.

And how was I going to feel as it came time to go to midnight Mass but as if I needed a chapel veil? I felt a little better once I saw there were other women there without them. But in that moment, even when I didn’t understand them, I wanted one. Most likely this is simply because I didn’t want to be the odd one out. Even my mom and 15 year old sister had something on their heads. But…yesterday I found an etsy shop of chapel veils and was, well, browsing. I decided I wanted one that fell on my shoulders instead of always being tied back, and I also saw that they were a little expensive, but you know some weren’t so bad. And, yeah, I maybe got a little caught up. *guilty smile*The Veil

So, this whole rant is simply to say…maybe my mind is/has been slowly changing. As I think of the women I personally know who wear veils and a particular blog post about one woman’s foray into veil-wearing I can’t help feeling interested. I’m not up for it right now. I’m not convinced about veil-wearing. And yet…

There’s something about veils that attracts me to them. I can’t necessarily identify it because any attempt to do so my mind refutes with a counterexample. I’d say it’s humble but I struggle to reconcile that with the beautiful appearance of a veil. I’d say it helps people be less distracted but I feel as though I’d always be adjusting it.

I guess the only real solution would be to try a veil. As I said, though, I’m not there yet. Maybe it’s a phase, maybe I am just caught up in sentiment. But it’s not completely ridiculous to think that I might at some point start wearing a veil…at least to Latin Mass. 😉

7 Quick Takes Vol. 28: I’m Actually Going to Blog Again ~or~ Christmas Break

— 1 —

It’s Friday! I have been so bad about doing these quick takes lately. I think it’s nice to have something like this though: short, a way to keep blogging, and scheduled. This is something I should really work on being consistent about.

— 2 —

Finals are over! We didn’t get out until late this year. So many other colleges had finished before us that it was kind of depressing to still be taking finals. But I made it through! And I only lost my mind three times. 😉 Also, one of my teachers gave us candy during our final (yeah, we learned about classical  conditioning in his class).
I also got my grades back. Keeping them up I’m glad to say. Spanish was my low grade this semester and I wasn’t sure how the final was going to go. A matter of mere points  would decide between letter grades. But I pulled it off. Overall in that class, I wish I’d been a bit more diligent. We had homework due 4 nights a week and I missed some of them just because I forgot and wasn’t able to turn them in late. Next semester I need to be better about that.

— 3 —

I’m home! Back with my family. Honestly, it’s not all warm smiles and watching Christmas movies. But it is home. The day after I got back, some of my family and I went to the city. We did some shopping and spent most of the day at the big department store downtown. We went out to dinner too.

— 4 —

Christmas time! It’s sort of weird. Back at school everyone was clinging to Advent hard. People protested how early the Christmas decorations started going up on campus (mid-November) and some people weren’t playing Christmas music. But here at home things are a bit different. Christmas music is certainly not taboo, the outdoor nativity set glows in our front yard, and the tree will be going up later today. But at this point, Gaudete Sunday has passed, the O antiphons have begun, and  Christmas is only 5 days away!

— 5 —

Five days!!! Ah! I haven’t finished shopping! I’ve bought one gift. I have a sibling to buy for still and oh yeah, my dad. Are your parents as hard to shop for as mine are sometimes?

— 6 —

Also, with break I have much more time for blogging. And I have a few ideas floating around so I’ll hopefully be posting more over the next few weeks.
After reading Jen’s Post I find this kind of ironic. She advocates for shutting down the internet from Thanksgiving to New Year’s because no one has time to write anyways. Haha sorry but I’d have to protest that! Christmas is one of the few times I can actually post with any sort of frequency. That and the summer. Basically any time I’m not drowning in responsibilities.

— 7 —

I have a few other things to do over break too. I’ve got some essays to write, books to read, a prayer life to improve, goals to finish, new goals to write, a driving test to take (finally), and time to spend with my family.

Merry  (early) Christmas!

For more Quick Takes, visit Jen at Conversion Diary and check out the link-up!

I Live in Advent

I have come to the realization that my life right now is like Advent. Just like this season of the liturgical year this season in my life is a time of waiting and preparation. Advent prepares us for Jesus’ birth and my life right now is preparing me for my vocation. As the world waited for Christmas, I wait for the day when I will know God’s will for my life.

Advent WreathBut I’m not there yet. Just as we still have a few more days to go before Christmas, I have time to go before I discern what God has planned for my life (unless he decides to conk me over the head tomorrow and tell me what I’m supposed to do). And so I wait. However, Advent isn’t just about waiting; it’s also about preparing. In the same way that Advent prepares us to celebrate Christmas, so I should let this season of my life prepare me for my vocation.

The first and foremost way to do this, is through strengthening my relationship with God. Prayer plays a key role in this as do the sacraments, specifically Mass and Confession.  Sound familiar? In Advent aren’t we supposed to  “Prepare the Way”? So shouldn’t I also prepare the way for my vocation? Shouldn’t I be preparing myself as a Christian for whatever God asks of me? No matter where I’m called, a strong prayer life is essential and will help me discern.

While we return deeper to God, prepare our hearts, and wait with longing for the joy we want to experience, we must also acknowledge that God is with us, always. He never leaves. He knows what He’s doing. He knew exactly when and where He would come into the world. And He knows exactly when and where He will reveal our vocations to us.

In the mean time, we wait and we prepare and we contemplate. The Bible tells us how Mary contemplated what she experienced. We are told that when the angel Gabriel greeted her she “pondered” (Lk 1:29) what it could mean. After the shepherds visited “Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart” (Lk 2:19). In my experience, discernment requires contemplation. We ask ourselves “what does God want me to do?” “what are my strengths?” “how can I best serve?” Mary also teaches us that discernment doesn’t end simply because we discover our Vocation in life. After all, seeking His will in every moment is sanctity.We will always be learning more and more what is the will of God.

For many of us though, the big question right now is whether we are called to marriage, single life, or religious life.  Perhaps, like me, your Advent isn’t over yet. The liturgical season may be drawing to a close but this season of our lives may have some time left yet. That may sound frightening, but all it means is that we have more time to prepare for the great journey ahead. Christmas is the goal and celebration for Advent. Our vocation is a goal of our discernment but it’s our eventual goal of Heaven that is the most important. In that way, our whole lives are an Advent preparing us for the joy of Heaven.

Discernment: Just Trust!

A few weeks ago, Sr. Joseph Andrew with the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist came for a visit to campus. She and I had a great conversation about my discernment story. She also shared her perspective on discernment and vocations during a women’s social night. Then, later that week, I had a great time in adoration where my lectio divina led me back to this same topic of trusting God when it comes to discernment.

We tend to think, myself included, that our vocation is a puzzle we must solve or a mystery to unravel. God is leaving us clues and if we’re not very, very careful we’ll miss one and thereby miss our vocation. But when you step back for a second, Sister’s perspective makes a lot more sense than this notion of discernment as a scavenger hunt.

She emphasized the importance of trusting God. This makes sense to me, because after all, He’s not trying to trick us. God doesn’t sit up in Heaven and think up elaborate wild goose chases for discerning individuals (at least I don’t think He does).

God loves us. He wants us to get to Heaven. Isn’t that why He designed our vocations in the first place? They are meant to glorify Him and help us on the path to holiness. We just need to trust that if we are following Him and seeking His will, He will show us where we are meant to be. In His time, and in His way. God wouldn’t hide your vocation from you. 

Now, of course, discernment is important. We have to put in some work. But if we’re constantly wondering if this or that was a sign or we’re stressing about what exactly our vocation is all the time…then I would think that that is not from God. Isn’t peace one of the fruits of the spirit? (Galatians 5:22).

So the long and short of it is: don’t freak out about discernment. Trust God.

7 Quick Takes Vol. 24

— 1 —

Well, I forgot to do my Quick Takes last Friday…and that was actually a pretty full week. For one, it was the one year anniversary of this blog. And, Saturday night, I got to babysit and even rock their 5 month old to sleep. He was a sweet baby! there other kids were great, though they were asleep almost the whole time.

— 2 —

I have so many blogging ideas in my head! I had a lovely realization about vocations this week after a conversation with a sister who was visiting campus, I also want to write about halloween, and my favorite posts from the last year. Hopefully I’ll get to one of those, at least, this weekend.

— 3 —

Next weekend is Fall Break! I’ve been looking forward to it for a while now. It’ll be great to just relax and have some down time. I’m going with a friend of mien from Iowa. We’re going to go shopping, she’s going to show me Costco (I’ve never been to one because they aren’t by my house), and just enjoy the mini vacation.

— 4 —

This weekend is Homecoming! We had the parade and dorm decoration judging today. Tomorrow is the traditional bed races, the football game, Saturday Vigil Mass, and the homecoming dance. I didn’t care for last year’s dance very much but this year it’s a 50’s themed sock hop. There’s going to be swing dancing and our swing club helped pick the music. So that should be fun.

— 5 —

What does the fox say? Is anyone else mildly disturbed by this music video? At first I was weirded out, then I was concerned (it just wouldn’t sit right with me), now I’m not entirely sure. Maybe it’s just a silly video? Thoughts??

— 6 —

We have wi-fi! The wi-fi in our suite has been terrible. I mentioned this to my dad and being the wonderful and technologically literate person that he is (he’s a computer programmer he kinda knows his stuff) he offered to send an access point. When it arrived, I on the other hand, was pretty clueless. I tend to think of myself as fairly tech savvy. But maybe I’m not. But that’s why I’ve got my dad and my brothers to call up and say “help! I don’t know what I’m doing!”
Anyways, it’s great to have full-functioning wi-fi. We can even get netflix on the wii. And yeah, we may have overdone it on the TV watching tonight. But hey! We are in college after all!

— 7 —

A friend mentioned Totus Tuus to me today. We were talking about summer internships and I mentioned wanting something in my diocese that was related to education. Totus Tuus was something she had done and enjoyed. She described the program to me: working with kids, teaching them about the faith, traveling around the diocese, being part of a team, praying constantly, discerning your vocation. So yeah…I’m going to have to look into that. 🙂 One thing that does concern me is the salary. It’s not a whole lot and I do need to be saving up. We’ll see what happens. Anyone out there ever been on a Totus Tuus team???


For more Quick Takes, visit Jen at Conversion Diary and check out the link-up!

7 Quick Takes Vol. 23

— 1 —

Well the government is shut down and apparently so are priests. I haven’t read all of this article but the headline says it all. As part of the shutdown, some Catholic military priest are not allowed to say Mass. There’s so much wrong with this. First, this an obvious infringement on religious liberty and first amendment rights. There’s no sugar-coating it. When people aren’t even allowed to worship because of something the government does I call that denying freedom of religion. They’re not even trying to hide the fact anymore (except for the fact that you probably won’t find this story in most major newspapers). This can not be said to have anything to do with protecting the freedoms of others, this does nothing but deny these priests the right to minister to their flock.

— 2 —

I did something stupid this week…I decided to post on Planned Parenthood’s facebook wall. I know lots of people do this but for me at least it didn’t go terribly well. I was unprepared. I also wound up discussing how insurance works which I don’t really know. So yeah, that was interesting. In the midst of this discussion they somehow decided that I hated children which I find extremely ironic. It was frustrating not being able to refute their arguments or make them understand. But the goal should really be to have a frank, respectful conversation and present a case for your side. It would be great to help someone see the truth. But maybe all that can be done is to plant seeds.

— 3 —

But then, on Thursday, there was sidewalk counselor training. I wasn’t able to go to all of it because I had to work, but I did get to be there for some of the training. Sidewalk counseling is something I approach timidly. I’m naturally a fairly quite person (except when I’m passionate about something) so I’m a little afraid I guess.

— 4 —

I have to get up early tomorrow. A group of us are leaving campus at 5:15am to sidewalk counsel at a local abortion clinic. I’ll probably just observe this week and see what I think. The woman from Texas Coalition for Life who gave the talk will be coming with us so I’d love to watch someone who’s as experienced as she is.

— 5 —

On another note, I love Spanish. It’s not my best class right now. But it’s going fine and I like it. I do need to study more for it. I think some flashcards may be in order.

— 6 —

Hm, I should get to bed soon…so just know that in general life is good though it’s had some rough patches this last week.

— 7 —

Now enjoy this picture. I took it on the top of Pike’s Peak while I was in Colorado. Apparently the view from that mountain is what inspired this:

America the Beautiful


For more Quick Takes, visit Jen at Conversion Diary and check out the link-up!